November 2010

Editor's letter

Striking the right chords

By Angela Hamlyn

Angela Hamlyn

Perhaps one of the most revealing indicators of the prevailing climate of optimism surrounding the future of the B.C. minerals industry is the rather upbeat title that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) bestowed to the latest installment of its annual B.C. mining survey: “Rock on.”* The report — the 42nd of its kind — summarizes the 2009 financial results and major trends in the British Columbia mining industry. Keeping in mind that the survey was conducted during a year marked by the global slowdown, the tone of the report, as indicated by the title, is surprisingly upbeat. That is because despite a few sour notes and some definite harmony issues, the mining industry in B.C. is seemingly on a pathway to prosperity, albeit one that might entail some fine tuning.

According to the PWC report, the B.C. mining sector contributed $5.7 billion to the provincial economy in 2009. Pre-tax earnings totalled $2.3 billion, which represented a decline from the all-time record of $3.2 billion reported in 2008, but still represented historically high levels. When you consider that 60 per cent of all Canadian exploration and mining companies are based in B.C. and that there are 24 mining projects in B.C. currently under review or in the permitting process, there can be little doubt that the health of the B.C. mining industry — and the outcomes and offshoots of the issues they are grappling with — will surely resonate across the Canadian mining industry as a whole.

The feature article “Power and the people” examines two components vital to the mining resurgence in B.C. — infrastructure development and Aboriginal engagement. Writer Dan Zlotnikov speaks with a variety of stakeholder representatives — including industry, association, government and First Nations — to capture their perspectives as to the potential roadblocks and gateways to recovery and expansion.

In this issue you will also learn why so many eyes are trained on gauging the success of our featured project — Thompson Creek Metals’ Mt. Milligan — which came close to not happening at all. Peter Caulfield’s story highlights the complexities of the issues facing the region and reinforces the integral role of early and effective engagement.

Editor Ryan Bergen also had the opportunity to speak with B.C. Minister of State for Mining, Randy Hawes, who candidly shares his views on revenue sharing, the B.C. Mining Plan and addressing hostility towards the mining sector.

Be sure to check out the preliminary program for the 43rd Annual Canadian Mineral Processors Operators’ Conference to be held in Ottawa from January 18–20, 2011. If you’ve never attended before, then come discover why dedicated delegates — undeterred by the frosty clime — look forward with great anticipation to visiting the nation’s capital the third week in January year in and year out.

Finally, we are very pleased by the ever-increasing feedback we have been receiving at CIM Magazine. Please keep sharing your reactions and suggestions, as they are integral to ensuring that we are hitting the right notes.

* The latest PricewaterhouseCoopers report can be accessed at here.

Angela Hamlyn,

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